Of course it is right to be cautious about breaking up countries, but when a region is a recognisable cultural, ethnic or linguistic entity, outright refusal to allow a vote is just stupid.But then Spain has other restless regions: if Catalonia goes, the Basque Country and Galicia would be next to demand independence, with other words Catalan independence would thus pose a serious risk to Spain’s very existence.
With this short sightedness the guys in Madrid was helping the separatists: until late summer 2014 polls suggested that fewer than half of Catalan's wanted independence, but a huge majority believed they should have the right to choose. Now Catalan nationalism is more of a danger. It has already damaged the publishing and media industries in Barcelona.
Speaking to people I know for some years the roots of the independence movement was put into the back-burner for long but most the interesting arguments involved the self-glory of the central government in their decision making e.g; being part of the "axis of the willing" in the US invasion of Iraq, then voting against sanctions against Libya (Libya was one of Spain's largest trading partners) and the support of Madrid's corrupt banking system.
Its true, Catalonia is the economical powerhouse of Spain and unemployment is far less then in the rest of Spain. People still have jobs, even when their labour rights are rather marginal and the "hire & fire" practice is conman. Maybe this is why there is a wide unwillingness for sharing with the rest of Spain. A solution could arise for The Central government in Madrid to consider a federal structure taxation model like in Germany. This would benefit both, Catalonia and the rest of Spain.